We all have our favourite – and least favourite – pundits.
No pundit is universally popular. Regardless of their analysis, there will always be a split in terms of positivity and negativity on social media after a match.
As we settle into the 2021-22 season, we thought we’d rank the biggest pundits on UK TV into five different tiers, purely based on our own opinion.
Just because we have Graeme Souness in ‘Time to go?’ or Gary Neville in ‘Best of the best’ doesn’t mean we’re right. And it doesn’t mean our opinion won’t change over the course of the season, either.
Admittedly it feels a little harsh having the ‘Time to go?’ and ‘Average at best’ categories as all the pundits listed are simply trying hard to do their jobs and know more about football than most of us ever will.
But there’s no getting away from the fact that some pundits have us reaching for the mute button whenever they come on screen…
Time to go?
Right, let’s get the harshest category out of the way first.
Souness has old school values and regularly bangs on about ‘Proper Football Men’. He was a fantastic footballer but it will soon be time for him to call it a day in his role as a pundit.
How Garth Crooks still has his ’Team of the Week’ feature on BBC Sport is anyone’s guess (it’s often baffling!), while his colleague Danny Murphy is hard to listen to whenever he’s on co-commentary duty.
Martin Keown and Tim Sherwood were good players but are far from the best pundits.
Average at best
All of these former pros know their stuff but, for various reasons, aren’t our preferred pundits.
Lee Dixon is dour, Robbie Savage and Steve McManaman can both be challenging to listen to (especially as co-commentators), while Joleon Lescott and Eni Aluko haven’t managed to impress us as pundits so far.
Perhaps that’ll change over the course of the 2021-22 campaign, though. Let’s see…
Robin van Persie
Chris Sutton, Michael Owen, Jermaine Jenas, Paul Merson, Jamie Redknapp and Owen Hargreaves aren’t the most popular pundits but, for our money, they’re all quite underrated.
Sutton has a brilliant dry sense of humour, Owen makes more good points than he gets credit for, Jenas isn’t half as bad as some people make out, Merson and Redknapp have been doing the job for years now and are both more than solid, while Hargreaves is very good on Champions League nights.
Then you have the more popular pundits like Peter Crouch, Ian Wright and Chris Kamara, who are always entertaining to listen to.
Emma Hayes, Ally McCoist and Cesc Fabregas all became fan favourites in the summer thanks to their fine work during Euro 2020.
Joe Cole is a very underrated pundit at the moment. The former Chelsea star was excellent on BT Sport last season and we hope to see more of him this term.
Alex Scott has silenced most of her critics over the past couple of years and is now the host of Football Focus.
Then we have the one and only Roy Keane and Micah Richards, whose unlikely bromance has made them two of the most popular pundits on UK TV right now.
Alan Shearer used to get a lot of stick when he first started out by is now the BBC’s main man, while Glenn Hoddle’s insight is often brilliant.
Best of the best
And finally, we come to the GOATs of punditry: Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.
Sky Sports is essential viewing whenever the former Manchester United and Liverpool defenders are on screen together.
The pre and post-match analysis is often the best part of Monday Night Football.
Let’s hope they continue working together for many more years to come.
Watching football on TV wouldn’t be the same experience without them.
And here are the tiers in full…
Latest transfer news (Football Terrace)
How many of these former Premier League ballers do you know? [Quiz]